Tag Archives: AFC Championship game

Mike Vrabel hired as Titans’ head coach

The Titans have announced the hiring of Mike Vrabel as their next coach.

Vrabel has seven years’ worth of coaching experience, including only four in the NFL, all with the Texans. He was Houston’s linebackers coach from 2014-16 and its defensive coordinator in 2017. Houston in 2017 allowed a league-high 436 points and ranked 20th in yards allowed, giving up 346.6 yards per game. The Texans also ranked 20th in rush defense (109.2 yards per game) and ninth in the NFL pass defense (237.4 yards per game).

Vrabel also has a storied 14-year playing career in the NFL, winning Super Bowls 36, 38 and 39 with the Patriots. He was named first-team All-Pro in 2007, which saw New England fall one game short of a perfect season.

New England, naturally, is a big favorite to beat upstart Jacksonville in the AFC championship game Jan. 21 in Foxborough, Mass. The early lines in Las Vegas on Sunday had the Pats favored by nine over the Jaguars, who upset the Steelers on Sunday in the divisional round. That spread had been bet down to Patriots -7.5 by Sunday morning. The over-under (total points) was set at 48, but has dipped to 46.5 in some places.

The Pats are 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 games, according to Vegasinsider.com; the UNDER is 7-4 in those games.

The NFC championship matchup, Vikings at Eagles on Jan. 21, is much closer in Vegas’ eyes, and once again, the conference’s top seed is an underdog. Philadelphia is getting 3 1/2 points from Minnesota after beating Atlanta outright as a 2 1/2-point ‘dog Saturday. The Vikings were favored by between 3 and 5.5 points leading up to the game, but that number had settled at Vikings -3 on Sunday morning.

Patriots are already looking forward to the playoffs after sending fans AFC Championship tickets

Every other team in the NFL is living in the 2017 preseason. The Patriots, meanwhile, are living in the 2018 playoffs — at least according to their season tickets.

This season, the New England Patriots sent season tickets holders something a little extra with their seats for the regular season: tickets to the AFC Championship game.

To be fair, the Raiders did the same thing with their tickets, but the message — based on the franchises’ recent histories — is vastly different. The Raiders ticket signified to their fans that they have high expectations this season after a decade of sub-500 seasons. That ticket is a goal, one that they could potentially reach if last season was any indication.

But with the Patriots, its seems more arrogant because they are almost always in the playoffs. They just won the Super Bowl, so the 2018 AFC Championship ticket says, “Yeah, of course we’re gonna make the big game again.”

They have made the playoffs every year since 2008, so it makes sense. Still, people will remember this if New England somehow misses the playoffs.

Third stringer Blaine Gabbert will get the bulk of the work at quarterback for the Cardinals and will be backed up by undrafted Texas A&M rookie Trevor Knight. Arizona is 4-8 SU over its last 12 preseason games, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

Thursday’s total is set at 35 points. The OVER is 7-0 in Arizona’s last seven games.